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tonal language

From:Samuel Rivier <samuelriv@...>
Date:Saturday, September 29, 2001, 17:35
my conlang "Seaspeak", based on the sounds of whales,
is almost entirely tonal, but also uses length
phonemically. There are actually several different
versions of the language, and only the long-range
communication type is completely based on tone and
length. The inter-pod-al communication version uses a
smaller range of tones but relies heavily on various
clicks and squeals.

Anyway in constructing the longrange version of
Seaspeak I ran across a problem. The tones were too
Western. Western music defines 12 distinct harmonic
tones in an octave, each an equal step away from each
other. But this is not objective. Though Socrates (I
think- maybe Plato or Aristotle) proved that harmonic
notes were based on simple fractions, the initial note
on which it is based could be anywhere, and in many
cases, a harmonic note can exist even deeper than in
1/12 of an octave.

So the entire project is under mass reconstruction
until I can find an alien enough scale. Also, I'm
thinking of extending it into several octaves, but
obviously the octave range depends on the size of the

-Samuel Rivier

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